Category Archives: Linda Cole

Top 10 Most Searched Dog Questions According to Google

By Linda Cole

Dogs are complicated individuals with their own unique and sometimes puzzling behaviors. Why dogs do the things they do is something all pet owners ponder from time to time. Thankfully, we have Google to help – they put together the top ten most searched questions about dogs in 2014.

10. Why do dogs bury bones? This behavior is called hoarding or caching, and goes back to early ancestors of dogs. Stashing food protects it from other animals that want to steal it. Uneaten prey and bones were hidden in a cache near the den. Burying the leftovers helped preserve a kill because it was cooler underground and hidden from flies and other insects. When prey was scarce, dogs could go back to their cache for something to eat. Most dogs today have plenty to eat, but the instinct to bury food is a hardwired behavior, which is why you may find stashes of CANIDAE kibble hidden around your home.

9. How to introduce dogs? Each dog is an individual, and knowing what he likes and dislikes, how he plays, what his energy level is, and how well he was socialized with other animals are all pluses when you decide to add a second dog to your home. Introducing a new dog to one already in your home should be done calmly, slowly and with patience. Pay careful attention to the body language of both dogs and never leave them unsupervised until they are comfortable and calm with each other.

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How to Keep Your Pet Out of the Trash

By Linda Cole

One challenge many dog owners have is trying to keep their inquisitive canine out of the trash can. Cats will also poke around in a wastebasket searching for something fun to play with or eat – and then blame it on the dog. Finding trash scattered all over the floor is not something you want to see as soon as you get home. However, there’s a right and wrong way to deal with the issue and prevent your pet from digging through the trash.

Perfecting the art of dumpster diving is most likely how both dogs and cats became domesticated. Of course, back then the dumpster was nothing more than piles of trash outside a village where canines and felines had no problem scavenging for food. The aroma of trash isn’t pleasant to us, but all of the intriguing smells can certainly capture the attention of animals searching for a meal.

Trash cans contain a wide variety of smells our pets find enticing. Chicken bones, meat scraps, meat wrappers and soiled paper towels provide a mixture of scents few pets can resist. If you have a separate bin for recyclables, it too has smells that draw pets to it. However, when a dog or cat digs through the trash to find something fun to play with or eat, it can put them at risk of developing serious health issues. Pets that find tin cans or lids to lick can end up with a cut tongue or gums and worse if they manage to ingest part of the can or eat plastic they found in recyclables. Garbage cans may also contain bits of string, dental floss, people food that’s toxic to pets and old or unused medications.

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How the Aging Process Affects Dog and Cat Eyes

By Linda Cole

Growing older begins the minute we are born, and how we deal with the aging process depends on our perception of age, which is just a number. Eventually, though, the time comes when we begrudgingly admit we aren’t as young as we used to be. Like us, our pets can experience vision and hearing impairments. Changes in vision can be a normal part of aging for our dogs and cats, but could also be an early sign of something more serious. It’s important to understand what you see when gazing into your older pet’s eyes. There are two reasons why their eyes can look cloudy.

Nuclear Sclerosis

Also called lenticular sclerosis or lenticular nuclear sclerosis, this is a normal part of the aging process. Tissue fibers are constantly forming on the lens during a dog or cat’s lifetime, but as they age these fibers push toward the center of the lens and become more concentrated. They form layers around the center of the lens sort of like the layers of an onion, and are transparent when dogs and cats are younger. The lens also loses moisture as pets grow older. Because the cells get denser as pets age, the lenses are less transparent and takes on a hazy blueish look.

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The Weather Channel’s Canine Hero: Butler the Therapy Dog

By Linda Cole

In the summer of 2013, an 18 month old Shepherd mix named Butler found himself in a Charlotte, NC shelter. When representatives from The Weather Channel (TWC) and the American Humane Association (AHA) visited the shelter, Butler had no way of knowing that this encounter would change his life and set him on a path to become a canine hero as The Weather Channel’s official therapy dog.

Natural disasters happen and your best defense is to have a plan, an emergency kit for your family and pets, and safe shelter for all. Recently, I talked with Butler’s owner/trainer/handler, Dr. Amy McCullough from the AHA, to learn more about the importance of therapy dogs in helping victims of natural disasters.

For the past few years, the AHA and TWC have provided tips for pet owners on disaster preparedness and related content online. In late 2013 they joined forces on a new initiative to help communities before and after a storm with lifesaving information, along with reaching out to help storm victims recover and heal. Butler’s role will be to provide animal-assisted therapy to those who need a comforting paw.

Amy was a member of the team that was searching shelters nationwide for just the right dog. “In addition to viewers submitting photos and videos of potential candidates online, I visited four shelters in four states in four days, meeting over 100 dogs. Butler was the second dog I met, and I knew he was the one.” The right dog needed to be at least a year old, in good health, able to get along well with other dogs, remain calm and enjoy meeting new people. “When I met Butler, he was playing with his friends in the shelter, but kept coming up to me seeking attention and affection,” Amy said. She adopted Butler, her third therapy dog, on January 22, 2014.

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Why Are More People Allergic to Cats Than Dogs?

By Linda Cole

A healthy immune system protects us from diseases. It’s a remarkable network of tissues, cells and organs all working in harmony to protect the body from infections, viruses and other microorganisms. However, sometimes the immune system reacts to something it believes is harmful to the body, overreacting in the way it responds. An estimated 15% of people are allergic to cats, dogs and other animals, but it’s our feline friends that cause more people to sniffle and sneeze than dogs. It’s estimated one in seven children between 6 and 19 years of age are allergic to cats. The reason has nothing to do with their hair though; the instigator is a protein found in cats.

Cat allergies in people are triggered by an overreaction of a super sensitive immune system to a protein (allergen) in cats called FEL d1. Scientists have isolated seven cat allergens that contribute to an allergy, but the FEL d1 protein is the most common reason why people are allergic to felines and it’s because of the size and shape of this specific molecule. It’s found primarily in a cat’s saliva, skin and urine.

The protein is spread on a cat’s fur as she grooms herself and can be deposited on your skin when she licks you. Someone who is super sensitive to cats can develop a rash on their chest, face or neck. When reacting to a perceived threat, the immune system releases a chemical, histamine, which causes congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Symptoms can range from mild irritation or sneezing to life threatening flare ups in asthma sufferers. An allergic reaction to cats can happen immediately or appear four to eight hours after contact with a feline.

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A Research Center Devoted to Learning about Dogs

By Linda Cole

The Clever Dog Lab is a research center in Vienna, Austria that’s been around for about six years. It’s one of a handful of centers around the world studying dogs to see how they think and why they behave in certain ways. The researchers’ main goals are to learn more about canine personality, how dogs view their world, how they compare to other species when performing a variety of cognitive tests, and how they problem solve.

For years, canines were thought of as animals with limited intelligence, understanding and emotions. Fortunately, a flurry of research conducted on our four legged friends in recent years paints a much different picture. Researchers are getting into the minds and hearts of dogs, and discovering the importance of our relationship with canines.

More than 600 volunteer dogs are used for the research at the Clever Dog Lab. The dogs are a variety of ages and breeds, both mixed and purebreds. Dog owners lend their pets to the research team that is trying to answer questions concerning our canine friends. Scientists believe that learning how dogs think and why they behave in certain ways can help them learn more about our own behaviors and our brains.

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